Jesus is the living bread that came down from heaven. The hungry who eat him, the Word made flesh, will live forever.
They murmur about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They behave as those hungry people who complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the desert?”
Those hungry people could not bear being hungry or thirsty and eating manna every day. Perhaps, for suffering so much at oppressive hands, they came to believe they were wholly helpless. In the face of an unusual and difficult situation, they hardly remembered that they enslaved for food that perishes.
And those who take offense at Jesus cannot bear either the new situation he ushers in. The usual idea they have of him clashes with his teaching.
Yes, those who grumble think they know everything about Jesus. That is why they cannot believe in him. Satisfied with their knowledge, they close themselves to the satisfaction he offers. They do not feel hungry at all. So, they do not see the need to open themselves to the one who fulfills the law and the prophets.
Blessed are those who humbly acknowledge that they are hungry; God draws them and fills them with good things.
The Father grants to the hungry things that he denies to those who are full. That is because that is how he wants it. And it is part of his gracious will that people receive from him through Jesus things they ask for.
Indeed, the Father has handed over to Jesus all things. He alone has seen the Father and reveals him. And so, those the Father feeds and teaches cannot but go to Jesus. In other words, Jesus draws also those the Father draws.
And those who feel attraction for Jesus prove themselves through their hunger for true righteousness. They are not self-righteous. So, they do not consider the Eucharist “a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (EG 47).
Moreover, they leave behind all bitterness, wrath, anger, shouting, reviling and malice. Being merciful, they forgive those who sin against them, just as God forgives them in Christ. In short, believing above all in Jesus, they make their own his new way of loving and living. That is why they keep asking (SV.EN XI:314), “Lord, if you were in my place, how would you act …?” And they know well that they do not imitate Jesus nor fulfill their duty if they provide only for the bodily needs of the poor (SV.EN X:269).
Lord Jesus, make us say that we are hungry, so that you may give us our fill. For otherwise, our hunger will remain, and we will not live forever.
12 August 2018
19th Sunday in O.T. (B)
1 Kings 19, 4-8; Ephesians 4, 30 – 5, 2; John 6, 41-51